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  • Writer's pictureKevin Scarbinsky

Cadillac has given Auburn's next man up a special act to follow

Now that you mention it, you're probably right about all of it. Carnell Williams almost certainly celebrated his last win as the Auburn head football coach Saturday. Western Kentucky was not the most formidable opponent, and Tyson Helton did not make the strongest case in his in-state audition to be the next UAB head coach.

The top-down, unbuckled and unbridled Cadillac joy ride is headed down a dark road toward T-town, where the T stands for trouble when Auburn football teams not led by Cam Newton pay a visit to Nick Saban.

We love the Iron Bowl because it makes magic on the regular, but when was the last time an Auburn team with a losing record beat Alabama? It was 1949, two years before Saban was born. So not in his lifetime and not on his watch if Bryce Young has anything to say about it.

Young has a chance to add to a legacy that includes a defining drive to rescue the Tide last year on the Plains. He can become the first Alabama quarterback under Saban to win multiple Iron Bowls as a starter without a single defeat.

Alabama, despite its recent nagging habit of not looking like Alabama, is one win away from its 12th straight 10-win regular season. Be nice if we could all pause for a moment during this season of mourning without a playoff trip to appreciate it. Auburn, if all goes according to plan, is one game away from throwing a parade for Lane Kiffin, who could really use a hug right about now after getting shivved by Arkansas and Sam Pittman.

But since we're still in the window of the 24-hour rule, the Iron Bowl can wait. The identity of Auburn's next head coach and UAB's next head coach and Alabama's newest staff members will be revealed in due time. Let's not turn the page without writing this down in ink.

Since February at the latest, the last thing anyone expected this Auburn football season to be was fun. Which makes the last three weeks all the more inexplicable, the thing that makes this sport stick to our ribs.

On the surface, it seems laughable to consider an overtime defeat at Mississippi State, a mud-wrestling TKO of turrible Texas A&M and a slow-developing dismissal of solid, unspectacular Western Kentucky as laudable. Then again, winning the second half over the Hilltoppers 24-0 was the program's widest margin after halftime against an FBS opponent in three years.

More to the point than mere points, Auburn has never had a season quite like 2022, and Williams refused to preside over a quiet, orderly procession to the exits. He didn't fit the suit they gave him. He found the suit that fit him. He admitted he was nervous. He didn't pretend to have all the answers or try to suppress all those emotions. He asked for advice, listened when it came and locked arms with anyone willing to walk alongside.

Best of all, because he has so clearly tried to squeeze every drop of juice from this experience, he made Auburn football fun again. ...

Read more on Kevin's tribute to Cadillac. Only in The Lede.

The honest joy of Carnell Williams has made .Auburn football fun again.



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